Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Thomas's Favorite Cars Guys

Cars from Leslie Ann McNolty on Vimeo.

Li = Lightning McQueen

Sashe = Sally

Looking back through the last couple of posts, I realized that it looks like we only dress Thomas when he leaves the house. Which is basically the case. In our defense it's regularly been over 100 degrees here. It was 104 on Saturday. We don't turn the air conditioning on unless it gets over 95 and even then we only use it for an hour or two during the hottest part of the day. A minimum of clothing is required.

However, fall is finally here! The high today is only 72. We're going to have to pull ourselves together and wrangle some clothes onto the kid.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

TV Monster

Thomas and I found these tiny Sesame Street figures while we were clearance hunting at Target today. He officially loves them. I asked him where his Sesame Street guys were at one point today, so now he calls them guy. (He's not so big on plurals.) It's just one of the four words he started saying today.

Guy (24)
Melmo = Elmo (25)
Out (26)
Dow = Down (27)

(Yes. I'm still keeping track. It should surprise no one that I have spreadsheet for this very purpose.)

He's super cute wandering around saying cookie all day. Nevertheless, we've cut way back on his tv time. He was watching around an hour a day which doesn't seem like a lot but frankly it turned him into a huge jerk.

He screams when I turn the tv off. He doesn't cry; he literally screams. In the last week or so, he also started screaming at us whenever the slightest thing didn't happen exactly the way he expected/wanted it to happen. I finally realized that when he watches tv his default reaction to frustration for the rest of the day is to scream in my face. So, we're taking a break. It's a bummer because I was really hoping Big Bird would teach him the alphabet.

Saturday, September 19, 2009


Pahta = Pasta

More Pahta from Leslie Ann McNolty on Vimeo.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Food Friday - Rice, Beans and Tomatoes

I have two dishes that I make when I don't feel like cooking but the monthly budget for take-out is already gone. One is the pasta bake I've posted before though I usually skip the last step of covering it with cheese and baking it. The other is this week's Food Friday.

Here's what you need for Rice, Beans and Tomatoes.

Three boxes and four cans. I've been making this forever. When I lived alone it was one of each. Then, when I started seeing Jeremy it grew to two boxes of rice, 2 cans of tomatoes and 1 can of beans. When we moved in together, I adjusted the recipe again so there would be leftovers for lunch the next day.

Rice, Beans and Tomatoes

3 boxes Rice-a-Roni Whole Grain Blends Roasted Garlic Italiano
2 cans diced tomatoes, drained
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed

Make the rice according to package directions. (I skip the oil it calls for). When the rice is ready, dump in the tomatoes and beans and stir. Heat through. Eat.

Thomas gave a fairly accurate demonstration of how to make this meal here.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Thomas and the Slide

Hmm ...

Maybe ...


What's next?

Friday, September 11, 2009

Food Friday - Sesame Noodles

So, Food Fridays are hard. I thought it would be easy because I already have all of my recipes in a word document. Cut and paste is pretty simple. But the pictures trip me up all the time. I am rarely moved to make a recipe that isn't accompanied by a photo so it's not something I want to skip.

Taking a decent picture of food is really hard when you know as little about photography as I do. One thing I do know is that you need good light and the light in our house is not good. Food photographed in bad light does not look appetizing. So, I have to go outside to take the picture. And somehow that's always a problem. Either I start cooking too late and it's dark outside when dinner is ready or I forget to take the picture until after it's gotten dark. Unfortunately, leftovers do not photograph well either.

But! I managed to take a picture of these Sesame Noodles.

These noodles have a unique flavor. They don't taste like anything else in our regular dinner rotation and they're better at room temperature than hot. It's a nice departure from everything else that we eat.

Sesame Noodles
Adapted from Everyday Food, May 2008

6 oz or 1/2 box of whole wheat spaghetti
1 small onion, quartered and sliced into thin strips
1 red bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
2 small heads broccoli, cut into florets/stems peeled and chopped
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

Cook spaghetti according package directions using extra water to leave room for the vegetables. 4 minutes before spaghetti is done, add onion, bell pepper and broccoli. Cook until pasta is al dente and vegetables are tender-crisp. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of pasta water.

Meanwhile, whisk together peanut butter, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, oil, garlic and red pepper flakes. Thin the sauce with reserved pasta water. You want a pourable consistency. Add sauce to hot pasta and vegetables. Toss to coat. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Shadow Chef

Thomas makes dinner.

Pour in the Rice

Add the Spices

Some Water

Black Beans

New Tool

Measure the Tomatoes

Give it a Stir

Cover and Simmer

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Too Cute to Kill

This ... This ... big jerk is luck to be alive. If I hadn't poured milk, blood, sweat and tears into this kid for the last two years, I might have killed him today. He locked me out of the house! Twice!

While I was in the garage this morning doing laundry, Thomas locked the door. Only, he doesn't know how to unlock it. I went outside to an open window and told him to go open the door for mommy. He just stared at me. He wouldn't even go over to the door and try to open it. So, I went back into the garage and knocked on the door. Nothing. When I went back to the window to see what he was doing, he was sitting on the couch watching Sesame Street.

Fortunately, I found a way to take the screen apart without ruining it. I climbed in through the window. Thomas didn't even blink an eye. I turned the television off and told him not to play with the door anymore. I put our extra set of keys in the garage. Then, I went outside and fixed the screen.

A little while later, I went out to hang laundry. Thomas's laundry no less. I was just thinking that I needed to go inside to check on him when I looked up and noticed that the door from the garage to the backyard was closed. We leave it open all day long to keep the garage from getting too hot. I walked over and it was locked. Thomas had gone out into the garage, shut the door and locked me out. On purpose.

I looked in the window to find Thomas. He was, I kid you not, sitting on the loveseat flipping through a magazine. When I called through the window to him, he wouldn't even look at me. So, I had to take the screen apart all over again.

And to think I was planning to write a nice post about what a good sleeper he has turned into and how he likes to play in his crib and what a nice change that is from when he spent most of his time in bed screaming. There will be no nice posts about Thomas today.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Fruits of my Labor

I grew a watermelon! A big, delicious watermelon! Yay!

Seriously, everyone should garden. Growing this watermelon has been one of the most satisfying things I have ever done.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Bubble Baths and the Clearance Queen

Thomas has fallen in love with bubble baths. He stands in front of the sink and stares at the bottle on the counter while I start his water. He wants to make sure I don't forget. He even says bubble now, the whole word. (It's number 22. Yes, I'm keeping track.)

Walmart put their summer toys on clearance two weeks ago. I've been stalking the aisle ever since. Yesterday two of the things I wanted finally hit rock bottom. I got the little Tadoodles boat he's playing with and a 3D Sidewalk Chalk set for $2 each. I love getting good deals.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Tee Vee

Thomas changed from a no-tv-kid to a television lover almost overnight.

When we bought the Cars paraphanalia for his room, we thought he should probably see the movie. So, we used some of his birthday money to order the dvd from Amazon. After I ordered it, I thought I should try to get Thomas used to the tv. I'm all about value; I wanted to get our $16.95 out of that dvd. So, I found a Thomas the Tank Engine movie on Netflix Watch Instantly. I set it up on the Roku for Thomas to watch. He hated it. He seemed frustrated that the pictures moved before he could get a really good look at them. I had to turn it off because he was whining and crying. So, when the dvd came in the mail, I wasn't sure it was such a good buy.

There was nothing to worry about.

Thomas Watches Cars from Leslie Ann McNolty on Vimeo.

It may not look like it but he really was excited. I guess he has naturally discriminating taste in film. The production values of Thomas the Tank Engine just cannot compete with state of the art computer animation.

Around the same time, Thomas found my old collection of Sesame Street Treasury Books on the bottom shelf of his bookcase. He started choosing them at storytime before his nap and at bedtime. So, I recorded a couple of episodes of Sesame Street. And that's when his conversion became total. After that first episode of Sesame Street, he literally stood in front of the television and demanded more!

Fortunately, he's not a slack-jawed, open-mouthed addict. He watches for 10 or 15 minutes and then wanders off to play with his cars or look at a book. He'll come back a little while later to watch some more.

And he is proof positive that Sesame Street is educational. Thomas's favorite character is Cookie Monster. He thinks that cat is hilarious. Just 10 days ago, he said cook for cookie. Not anymore.

Cookie from Leslie Ann McNolty on Vimeo.